AVOID AN UNFAIR DIVORCE WITH REGARD TO HIDDEN ASSETS
What were the main priorities on your mind when you made your decision to divorce? Perhaps you were concerned about protecting your home in conjunction with not wanting to have to uproot your kids and move to a new area. Your children, of course, are always one of your highest priorities, so their best interests are undoubtedly the main concern of yours regarding divorce proceedings. What about property division? Are you worried about your spouse trying to hide assets?
If so, you’re definitely not alone. Even though this type of behavior is unquestionably unethical and is also illegal, many spouses try to stash cash or otherwise gain the upper-hand in property distribution proceedings by trying to keep certain assets from becoming subject to division. If you think this is happening in your situation, it’s important to know how to spot hidden assets and where to seek support to bring the issue to the court’s attention.
Check statements from the IRS and other creditors.
One of the most common ways spouses try to hide marital assets in a divorce is to overpay their creditors. Many times, a creditor issues a paper check as a means of returning the overpayment. A spouse who is up to no good where assets are concerned can then cash that check and hide the money.
Make sure overseas trips are on the up and up.
A spouse trying to hide assets may try to send items with value, such as gems, out of the country with the help of a friend or family member who agrees to take the items abroad to sell, then hold the money for the asset-hiding spouse until the court finalizes the divorce.
How often does your spouse use an ATM?
If your spouse begins frequenting local ATM kiosks to withdraw cash but you do not think he or she is spending it, it may be that the ATM withdrawals are a means of hiding assets. Your spouse could be pocketing the money to keep it from being divided between you in divorce.
Other types of suspicious behavior include:
- Transferring stocks or investment accounts into the names of “dummy” accounts, family members or business partners
- Stashing money in a safe deposit box
- Deferring salary or other potential payments such as commissions or bonuses
- Delaying signing new contracts that could bring in money that would otherwise be considered divisible property in California
Don’t ignore your suspicions.
It’s understandable that you want to think the best of your co-parent, especially knowing that hiding assets could ultimately have a negative effect on your children. However, not everyone plays fair in divorce, and if you suspect your spouse is committing illegal acts to give you the short end of the property division stick, you can legal assistance to further investigate the matter and bring it to the court’s attention.